In the comments of an earlier post, I alluded to a possible proof of the non-existence (or at least irrelevance) of God using chemistry and proof by induction. My suggestion was not picked up by the fellow I was conversing with so I never described it, but it is still rattling around in my head so I thought I'd share a summary of it.
Premise: All molecules obey the laws of chemistry. That is, given the opportunity, they will react in known ways to attain lower energy states. For example, if you put NaOH in solution with water, it will attain a known level of ionization (Na+ and OH-) according to the amount you put in, the temperature of the water and so forth. It just happens.
Implication: If all you are is what you see - there is nothing more than chemicals in the Universe, no metaphysics at all - then everything obeys these laws. Period. "You" have no effect on them. In order for you to claim you had an effect on these chemicals, you'd have to show that you made them do something they weren't going to do anyway. You'd have to make them disobey laws of chemistry, in which case everything is wide open again and you'd have to admit that you believed in the Easter Bunny.
Conclusion: A difference that makes no difference is no difference.
If your consciousness has no affect on the world at the molecular level, then it has no effect at any other scale, either. A consciousness that can't do anything is totally irrelevant and for all practical purposes doesn't exist. That means you don't exist.
If you don't exist, then what's the point of God? He may or may not exist, but it's completely pointless to even debate it because it has no ramifications for you (or non-you).
Objection: In comments long ago, someone suggested that because subatomic particles have random motions, it could be that consciousness is located there. We are somehow controlling the random actions of these subatomics or are a collection of them or mumblemumblemumble. If you believe that, then you are an animist because everything has these subatomic particles and there's no particular reason why a rock doesn't possess the same consciousness as you. That's George Lucas' position - the Force is a summary of the animist point of view. "The Force is first described by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi as an energy field created by all living things, that surrounds and penetrates living beings and binds the galaxy together."
At that point, you have to wonder what the fuss is all about. Animists seem to be about the silliest people out there. The Easter Bunny has nothing on them. Hugging trees? Ha! You'd be out there hugging dirt. Live it up, boys!
So what: So why the argument? What's the big deal here? Why do I get such vitriol and anger from people when I post about this topic? We're all irrelevant, you're not accomplishing anything and there's nothing to be gained from the yelling. Who cares? That leads to ...
The logical, practical conclusion of science-based rationalism:
And that, my friends, is Stephen Hawking's true legacy. Outstanding!